Defining Communication

Painting depicting communication.

So, what exactly is communication?

In explaining a potentially complex term, scholars often begin by examining the root or origin of the term, which, in this case, comes from the Latin word communicare, meaning “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in” (Harper, 2015). Roots like this reveal more about the term’s original intention, giving clues as to the subtle nuances of the term, even beyond what most dictionaries or encyclopedias offer with their detailed definitions and explanations. In this case, the original intent of the term was not used to describe a novice learning about public speaking, rather that the act of communication refers to something much bigger and broader.

To communicate means to share information via a process of joining others together. Communication, in this sense, defines the means by which people make sense of their life experiences and provides a tool by which they can relate those experiences with others.


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Messages that Matter: Public Speaking in the Information Age - Third Edition Copyright © 2023 by North Idaho College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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